Elephant Bush – Dwarf Jade – Portulacaria Afra

Elephant Bush – Dwarf Jade – Portulacaria Afra – plant care guide

Elephant Bush – Dwarf Jade – Portulacaria Afra

Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” is a succulent with fleshy, glossy leaves that grows bushy with woody stems that grows huge if proper time, nutrients, and growing conditions are given. Dwarf Jade plants may get 2 to 20 feet tall in a natural habitat where it is a favorite food of elephants. If grown indoors they are more likely to remain just under a foot tall. The bush of the succulent has soft green leaves that resemble a dwarf jade plant. Variegated varieties tend to be smaller and less robust than the green ones.

Portulacaria requires bright light and warm temperatures, a place next to a big window where there is a good amount of sunlight throughout the day works great for them. If provided with proper nutrients the plant produces small pink flowers grouped in clusters at the point where the branch ends, this usually happens in the older plants. Too bright direct-sunlight causes leaves to turn yellow or red at the tips or may even get burned.

Being succulent, they are drought tolerant and can live without being watered for longer durations, but they grow quickly with lush foliage if given adequate water. Thye shouldn’t be overwatered as the roots tend to rot in consistently moist soil. Using the “soak and dry” method, and allowing soil to dry out completely between waterings is recommended. Use a cactus-succulent potting mix or custom soil with more amount of small gravel, perlite, other non-porous materials. Should be planted in a container with proper drainage holes.

Elephant Bush plants have been found to be an excellent ‘carbon sponge’, due to their ability to absorb more carbon from the air as compared to other plants. Although commonly known as “Miniature Jade,” they are not at all related to Crassula ovata “jade plant”. The bigger plats are eaten by elephants, and other wildlife in nature and also used in some Southern African cuisine, where the leaves are added to salads, soups, and stews to add a sour flavor. Dwarf Jade is a popular succulent for making bonsai.

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